NHMA Relies on Members to Help Shape Legislative Agenda

The information contained in this article is not intended as legal advice and may no longer be accurate due to changes in the law. Consult NHMA's legal services or your municipal attorney.

As many municipal officials already know, legislative work takes place year-round. It is an ongoing process and staff members have already been working on laying the foundation for the next legislative biennium. The success of NHMA’s legislative efforts, in large part, depends on you. You work at the level of government that is closest to the citizen and you are uniquely situated to help legislators understand how pending legislation affects your city or town.

As a first step, we are recruiting volunteers to serve on our three legislative policy committees. These committees will review legislative policy proposals submitted by local officials and NHMA affiliate groups and make recommendations on those policies, which will go to the NHMA Legislative Policy Conference in September.

If you are a local official in an NHMA member municipality and are interested in serving on one of the policy committees, please contact the Government Affairs staff at 800-852-3358, ext. 3408, or governmentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org.

Each of the committees deals with a different set of municipal issues. The committees and their subject areas are as follows:

  • Finance and Revenue – budgeting, revenue, tax exemptions, current use, assessing, tax collection, retirement issues, education funding.
  • General Administration and Governance – elections, Right-to-Know Law, labor, town meeting, charters, welfare, public safety.
  • Infrastructure, Development, and Land Use – solid/hazardous waste, transportation, land use, environmental regulation, housing, utilities, code enforcement, economic development.

When you contact us, please indicate your first and second choices for a committee assignment. We will do our best to accommodate everyone’s first choice, but we do need to achieve approximately equal membership among the committees. We hope to have 15-20 members on each committee.

There will be an organizational meeting for all committees on April 6. After that, each committee will meet separately as many times as necessary to review the policy proposals assigned to it—typically three to five meetings, all held on either a Monday or Friday, between early April and the end of May.

The committee process will allow for in-depth review and discussion of policy suggestions so all aspects of each proposal, both positive and negative, will be examined. Based on that review, each committee will make recommendations for the adoption of legislative policies.

Once the committees complete their work, their policy recommendations will be printed in Town & City and sent to every municipal member of NHMA. Each municipality’s governing body will be encouraged to review the recommendations and establish positions on them. Members will also have an opportunity to submit floor policy proposals in advance of the Legislative Policy Conference in September.

At the Legislative Policy Conference, each member municipality is entitled to cast one vote on every policy recommendation submitted and on any floor proposals. Each policy proposal must receive a two-thirds affirmative vote of those present and voting in order to be adopted as an NHMA policy.

Every NHMA legislative policy begins with a proposal submitted by a local official, board, or committee. If there is a law affecting municipal government that you think needs to be fixed, or if you have an idea for how the functions of local government might be improved through legislation, this is your opportunity to make a change.

Accompanying this article is a legislative policy proposal form that can be used to submit a proposal for consideration. The deadline for submitting proposals is April 20, although earlier submission is encouraged. Please follow the instructions on the form for submitting your proposal.

We leave you, then, with two assignments, should you choose to accept them:

  • Contact the Government Affairs Staff (soon!) if you are interested in serving on a legislative policy committee (send us an email at governmentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org; and
  • Submit a legislative policy proposal (soon!) if you have an issue that you would like to be considered as part of this year’s policy process.